Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy has paid tribute to veteran star Conal Keaney who battled back from a shoulder injury to help secure his side’s place in the Leinster SHC for next year.
Keaney played an influential role in his side’s 2-24 to 0-13 victory over Offaly at Parnell Park, a result which sees Offaly relegated to Joe McDonagh Cup hurling and Dublin retain their status.
A shoulder ligament injury suffered against Kilkenny could have been the end of Keaney’s season but Gilroy hailed his dedication to the cause.
"Conal had a bad injury against Kilkenny and he’s worked extremely hard to get back into it," he said. "He’s really applied himself very well and he’s brought a work ethic to the team which has been fantastic.
"I really admire what he did, particularly today to come out and play that game. It was definitely against all kind of medical theory to come out and play the way he has played.
"He’s been so committed to it this year, he’s been great."
Gilroy admitted to a degree of sympathy for the relegated Offaly but insisted that thoughts of Dublin dropping into the McDonagh Cup were never in his mind.
"We're happy largely with the performance, feel sorry for Offaly you have to be honest getting relegated. In their first few championship matches they were certainly very competitive.
"It's disappointing for them to go down and it's harsh on them the system probably mitigated against them [with] four games in-a-row. When things started to go against them you could see it was difficult for them to get back at it.
"It was important to get the win today. We didn’t talk about getting relegated or anything like that, we just concentrated on getting another performance and an improvement on the previous day.
"Our intensity was very good today but we were probably a bit nervy with our shooting in the first half but we improved significantly in the second half."